Skip to main content

Full text of "A search in secret Egypt"

See other formats


CHAPTER XH
THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES
THOSE who were initiated into the Ancient Mysteries took a solemn oath never to reveal what had passed Yithin the sacred walls. It must be remembered, in any case, that every year only a comparatively few were initiated into the Mysteries, consequently the number of persons who knew their secrets was never at any time large. Therefore, any complete and connected exposure of what actually constituted the Mysteries has never been given to the world by any ancient writer, so faithfully has this oath been kept. Nevertheless, brief allusions, comments by classical authors, occasional phrases and carven inscriptions have been discovered, §ufficient to afford a few fleeting glimpses into the nature of these obscure institutions of antiquity. And those glimpses assure us that the purpose of the Mysteries, in their earlier and unspoiled state, was assuredly a high one, a blending of religious, philosophical and moral aims. "Farewell, thou who hast experienced what thou hadst never yet experienced, from a man thou hast become a god," was a parting phrase which the Orphic initiate of the highest degrees heard.
It was open to any man to knock at the aoors of the Mystery Temples, but whether he could obtain admittance was another matter. In the words of Pythagoras, when turning away unsuitable applicants from his own Academy at Croton, "not every kind of wood is suitable for the making of Mercury."
Tne first stage of initiation—that which proved survival-brought with it a terrible and frightening experience as a prelude to the pleasanter awakening in the soul-body.
In some of the elementary initiations, but not all, there was a time when mechanical means were used to make die candidate believe that he was falling into a dangerous pit, or being overwhelmed by a tide of rushing water, or being attacked by wild animals. Thus his resourcefulness and courage were tested.
tit